Updated from 10:56 a.m. EDT
expects 4% growth in worldwide sales volume this quarter, the company said Wednesday.
Analysts said the numbers indicated a slower-than-expected recovery by the soft drink maker, and its shares finished up 69 cents, or 1%, at $55.63.
For the third quarter, unit volume in North America will be even, the company said. Growth will be 4% to 5% in Latin America and Europe, 3% to 4% in Africa and the Middle East and 7% to 8% in the company's Asia Pacific group. Some analysts had expected double-digit growth in the latter market, which includes Japan.
"It's a slower recovery than many had expected," said Tim Swanson, analyst for
A.G. Edwards & Sons
. The cause of the slow growth is "difficult to say in North America because we don't have
numbers out yet." Swanson rates the stock maintain, and his firm has not done underwriting for Coca-Cola.
The Atlanta-based company said sales in North America were weak at the quarter's start but improved thanks to marketing activities.
Coke is expected to report earnings of 41 cents a diluted share in mid-October, while rival Pepsi is expected to report earnings of 39 cents a share next week, according to
First Call/Thomson Financial
Coke said it is comfortable with its previously stated unit case volume growth predictions of around 5% this year and 6% or 7% next year.